Leading figures from the world of rugby union paid tribute on Tuesday to the former France international Christophe Dominici who died on Tuesday at the age of 48.
Dominici, who was found at the foot of a building in a car park on the outskirts of Paris, scored 25 tries in 67 Tests for France, including eight tries across three World Cups.
After starting out with his home-town club Toulon in the south of France, he moved to Paris-based Stade Francais with whom he won the French championship five times between 1998 and 2007.
“The French rugby family is in mourning after the tragic death of our winger Christophe Dominici, said the French Rugby Federation (FFR) in a tweet. “We are thinking especially of his family and loved ones.”
"Deeply saddened to hear of Christophe Dominici's passing. tweeted Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby.
"He was a star of 1999 @rugbyworldcup scoring a brilliant try in that thrilling semi-final & you had the feeling that something special would happen every time he took to the field.”
Dominici was renowned as a winger for his balance and a deceptive change of pace. He orchestrated one of the most fabled tries and comebacks in World Cup legend.
On 31 October 1999, during the semi-final against the reigning champions New Zealand, he breezed between two opponents to grab a bouncing ball one-handed before blazing down the left touchline.
His try put the French ahead for the first time as they overturned a 14-point deficit to reach the final. The score also helped to incarnate the dreamy concept of 'French flair'.
The FFR described Dominici as a legend and an emblematic player who had left his imprint on an entire generation of rugby.
Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll, who faced Dominici several times on the field, tweeted: "Very sad to hear of the sudden passing of Christophe Dominici. A French player full of flair with huge success throughout his career. May he RIP."
Dominici's former club, Stade Francais, described him as a rugby genius and peerless companion. The club added: "He leaves a great void in our big family."
After he retired in 2008, the then-national coach Bernard Laporte gave him a coaching role. He also worked as a media pundit.
Away from the sport, Dominici said he suffered bouts of depression. In his 2007 autobiography, he admitted a personal loss had triggered depression and that he had been abused as a child.
“To me, classic French rugby meant ugly brutes up front and dashing cavaliers in the backs,” tweeted fan John Mulcahy.
“Christophe was the epitome of the latter - a joy to watch - we mostly never know the real person - I hope he was a good guy - he certainly brought pleasure to millions - RIP.”